Aaron Rodgers appreciates memories, name of State Farm Stadium
A trip to Arizona this week for Thursday Night Football has Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers reminiscing on past experiences inside what used to be called University of Phoenix Stadium.
The stadium’s current name, State Farm Stadium, appeals to Rodgers a lot more.
“That’s a great name,” Rodgers said, alluding to his partnership with the insurance company. “I don’t know if Jake is going to be there.”
Putting the State Farm references aside, Rodgers has plenty of memories playing in Glendale. Many of those previous games, though, saw Rodgers and the Packers on the losing end.
Rodgers is 1-3 at State Farm Stadium in his career, including two classic playoff games.
In the 2010 NFC Wild Card Game, Rodgers led Green Bay back from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to tie the game on an 11-yard touchdown pass to Spencer Hayner.
“What a great comeback that was to be a part of,” Rodgers said.
Despite the comeback, overtime would not be Green Bay’s friend. Rodgers fumbled the ball after being sacked by defensive back Michael Adams. The recovery from linebacker Karlos Dansby was returned for a touchdown to give Arizona a 51-45 victory.
Before the game-ending play, Rodgers remembers a missed opportunity to close the game out on the first play of overtime.
“I had Greg [Jennings] down the seam and I kind of had to pull up slightly off the back side of that fake and should have put a little more air on it,” Rodgers said. “If I put a little air on it, it probably would have been an 80-yarder to win it.”
Despite the game-ending fumble, the 2009 NFC Wild Card Game was Rodgers’ best game in his career at State Farm Stadium. He threw for 423 yards with four touchdowns with two-thirds of his passes completed.
Six years later, the two teams met again in Glendale for the 2015 NFC Divisional Round. Rodgers again forced overtime. This time, it was a 41-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Janis as time expired that gave the Packers an extra period of play.
Rodgers never got a chance in overtime this time around. Arizona’s first OT play saw quarterback Carson Palmer escape the pocket and find wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald took care of the rest in a 75-yard play to set the Cardinals up at Green Bay’s 5-yard line, where Fitzgerald finished the job two plays later.
Rodgers threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns in that game with a 54% completion rate.
Despite coming up on the losing end of both of those games, Rodgers remembers the impact that the fans made.
“The thing that you remember about those games is just how loud the crowd is,” Rodgers said. “It’s a great environment for football with a great fanbase down there.”
In his two regular season games at State Farm Stadium, Rodgers has thrown for 386 yards combined with two touchdowns and one interception. Green Bay’s last regular season game in Arizona came in 2015, when Rodgers was sacked eight times by the Cardinals.